Researchers Examine How Microbes Play a Role in Contaminating Field Produce
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in six people in the United States get sick from eating contaminated food each year. A team of researchers from Clarkson University in upstate New York examined how microbes from manure may play a role in contaminating produce in the field. The team measured how far common bacteria—including Salmonella and E. coli—are likely to travel downwind from manure application sites by looking at samples from several distances and measuring the presence of illness-causing bacteria. The researchers also used computer models to predict produce contamination over a larger range of probable dispersion. Combining these data, the team found that produce fields should be set back from areas of manure application by at least 160 meters.
NIFA originally published this impact in the NIFA 2015 Annual Report. Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.